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Online Prices Fluctuating Minute By Minute

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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Shopping online can be overwhelming for most customers. Now, it turns out there may be a best time to look for your product on websites.

Pembroke Pines shopper Tony Munoz knows some days he gets better deals online than others. He believes it’s best in the middle of the week.

“Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays seem to be the best,” Munoz said.

While shopping online recently, Amy Shoaff noticed prices for the same item, on the same website changed substantially even throughout the day, “general everyday items fluctuating anywhere from $40 to $300.”

It’s all part of a new trend: Some retailers are changing their online prices hourly, some even by the minute. The goal is to have a product priced so it pops up as the lowest priced item in shopping search engines, or Amazon’s coveted “buy box,” where most consumers look to find the best deals.

Chris Buckingham of the Professional Pricing Society said, “It’s more a battle of getting the right screen position as opposed to trying to sell it as quickly as possible.”

After monitoring prices of several items on a well known shopping website, CBS4 found an iPad selling at midnight for $511. By 6am it dropped to $503. Then at 7am the price sunk to $475, where it remained until 2:30pm and then jumped to $510. By 10, it increased to a high of $529.

That’s a $54 price difference, on the same site, all in one 24-hour period.

Buckingham said, “The suppliers are constantly monitoring each other.”

There are websites which will monitor prices for items you want and alert you when the price drops, or reaches an amount you’d be willing to pay. If you add an item to your Amazon shopping cart and leave it there; amazon will notify you of price changes.

But Amy has a warning about clicking on the least expensive deal found on search engines

“Free shipping, returns, make sure you’re using those things to your advantage because sometimes just price isn’t always the cheapest,” Amy said.

What product’s prices fluctuate the most?

From what CBS4 found its electronics, appliances, clothing, shoes, jewelry and even household staples, like dust pans!

Some experts suggest if you ordered something from a retailer and the price dropped within a reasonable amount of time, contact the business and see if they’ll refund you the difference.

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